How To Raise Your Pool Alkalinity With Baking Soda

Not a chemistry nerd?  You don't need to be!!  This pool alkalinity thing is a breeze!!  The total alkalinity (TA) is the measurement of how alkaline your pool water is.  For swimming pool water, we concern ourselves with bicarbonate alkalinity which should be maintained between 80 ppm and 120 ppm.  When the total alkalinity is within range, it stops the pH from bouncing up and down, or sometimes called "pH Bounce".  It also helps stabilize your pool's pH level.

Remember to take small steps when making adjustments to your (TA). You can always add more but it's a little harder to get it out.

How To Raise Your Pool Alkalinity With Baking Soda

How Do I Know If I Need To Increase My Pool Alkalinity?

That's what we call TEST TEST and TEST your pool water.  There's no way for us to know what our chemical readings are without taking the proper tests.  Your alkalinity levels should be between 80 - 120 ppm and your pH should be a stable 7.2 - 7.8.

How Much Baking Soda Should I Add To My Pool?

As a general rule, you'll want to use 1.5 lbs. of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of pool water to increase your pool's alkalinity 10 ppm.  Or you can use this tool for your pool calculations.  Once you  know your pool water volume, you're half way to success. 

How To Add Baking Soda To Your Pool

No diluting your baking soda in a bucket is needed.  Baking soda is safe to add directly to your pool.  For this procedure you'll need:

  • Enough baking soda for your size pool
  • A glass measuring cup
  • Safety goggles

Try to not use baking soda on a windy day as this will cause frustration and possible loss of your chemical.

  • Add about 1/2 of the baking soda you’ve measured out. Evenly sprinkle it around the perimeter of the pool, starting in the deepest part of the pool.
  • Turn the pump motor on and filter for 8 - 10 hours
  • Come back, retest, and make another adjustment if needed

This is a systemic procedure, meaning, the baking soda must go through the entire system, so allow for one full turn-over of the water before retesting.  Increase your pool's alkalinity by taking small steps.  We can always add more baking soda if needed, but it's much more difficult to take it out.     

What Happens If I Add Too Much Baking Soda?

If you accidently over-shoot your alkalinity mark and use too much baking soda, there are some simple things you can do such as:

  • Add some water to dilute the baking soda.  Only do this if you already have lower alkalinity fill water. 
  • Add muriatic acid to lower the alkalinity

Baking Soda or Soda Ash?

Since starting in the pool industry in 1999, I've always used sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to raise total alkalinity and sodium carbonate (soda ash) to raise pH.  The only the exception to this rule is if BOTH the total alkalinity and pH are low.  Then of course, baking soda is my go-to product.  

Can Baking Soda Save Me Money? 

In short, absolutely YES!!  Being that baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate, and you can easily find it in your grocery store for a fraction of the price you'd pay for Alkalinity Decreaser at your local pool store.  So go buy some baking soda and get your pool's alkalinity in check.   

Can I Become A Pool Alkalinity Pro?

Can you become a pro and take care of your pool?  Yes and yes.  Just by learning a few simple things, you'll be well on your way to maintaining your pool like a professional that's been cleaning pools for 20 years.